Difference between Love and Obsession
Key difference: ‘Love’ is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. It is a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. It can also be used to describe sexual passion or desire. An obsession is when one is completely dominated or preoccupied with the thoughts, feelings, or desires for something, essentially a person. It is when one cannot stop thinking about someone constantly and persistently.
Humans are fascinated with love. We need love, we crave love, and we’ll do anything for love. There are pages and pages devoted to love throughout history, stories, poems, sonnets, paintings, and so much more.
According to Dictionary.com, ‘love’ is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. It is a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. It can also be used to describe sexual passion or desire. See the difference between love and infatuation.
Love is a strong affection and an emotion of personal attachment. Love is defined as a virtue full of human kindness, compassion, and affection; "the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". While love more often than not is used to denote feelings toward the romantic partner, love, in fact, is more generic than that.
Loving someone is a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection. It can be used to refer to anyone, any person, or any thing. For example, I love you. I love my mom. I love my husband. He loves his girlfriend. I love my dog. They love pizza. She loves vanilla ice-cream. Mary loves the sea. John loves football.
Love can be used to refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure to interpersonal attraction. It may refer to passionate desire, the intimacy of romantic love, sexual love, familial love, platonic love, religious love, and to a concept of love that encompasses all of those feelings. However, when referring to love between two different people, there are in fact two distinct forms of love:
- Platonic love: A deep and non-romantic connection or friendship between two individuals. It is love in which the sexual element does not enter. Platonic love can refer to friends, best friend, siblings, parents, children, etc.
- Romantic love: Considered similar to platonic love, but involves sexual elements. This the type of love referred to when talking about the love between two partners, such as a boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, boyfriend – boyfriend, girlfriend – girlfriend, etc.
Love or actually the need to be loved is the driving force between all interpersonal relationships that one forms. Love is a psychological need for all humans. We all want to feel loved. Love is, in fact, a part of our survival instinct. It is a function to keep human beings together so that they may procreate and continue the species. However, this is debatable as to why humans need love, whereas many other species procreate well in the absence of love.
Still, the need to be loved can be quite demanding and persistent. So much so, that we may become obsessive at times. One may not realize that what one thinks is love, is, in fact, an obsession. An obsession is when one is completely dominated or preoccupied with the thoughts, feelings, or desires for something, essentially a person. It is when one cannot stop thinking about someone constantly and persistently.
Dictionary.com defines, ‘obsession’ as:
- The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
- The idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
- The state of being obsessed.
Obsessive love is when a person feels an overwhelming obsessive desire to possess the person they are attracted to. The obsessed person may try to force them into a relationship, will try to buy their love, or will try to alienate them from their family and loved ones. An obsessed person may exhibit all of these, some of these and/or other symptoms of obsession. They will also be unable to accept rejection from the other person.
Obsession is often considered to be a type of mental illness, as the person doe not recognize the fact that they are obsessing over something or someone. They confuse their feelings for love. The more time and effort invested that the person invests in their obsession, the worse it gets.
People in an obsessed state have a one-track mind where they often lose touch with who they are as an individual. Their life gets defined by getting and possessing the other person. This loss of individuality creates a vicious circle of behavior where the obsessed person grows more and more dependant on the other person and on the relationship in general.
When ‘love’ is unrequited, the obsession may even become dangerous. The obsessed may feel that they cannot live without the other person. They might threaten or even attempt suicide. If the other person begins or is in a relationship, the obsessed may turn violent against the person who ‘stole their loved one’. They may even turn violent against the person they were obsessed with: ‘if I can have you, no one can.’
There is help available for the obsessed and the ones victimized by them. In cases, as such one should always try to get help, whether it is the one who is obsessing or the one who they are obsessing about.
Also see: Difference between flirt and love